The Democratic Party In The 21St Century

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The Democratic Party In The 21St Century Essay, Research Paper The Democratic Party In the 21st Century: Danger on the Horizon It has become customary in modern American Politics, when one party inflicts a major defeat on another, for pundits to cosign the losers to the trash receptacle of history. Political obituaries have been written for the GOP during the long presidential tenure of Franklin D. Roosevelt, for the Democrats when Dwight Eisenhower was in office, for the Republicans again in 1964, and for the Democrats again in 1984 and 1988. In each and every case, the dead party rose from the ashes like the mythical phoenix. However, political parties really do die. In the 19th century, the federalists, the National Republicans, and the Whigs, among others, vanished. In

our own century, the Populists and the Progressives expired, and if the Socialists and Communists are still alive, no one seems to notice or really care. Now, in the wake of the 1994 Elections and the storm that will be the 1988 Elections, it is a strong possibility that the Democratic Party will be placed on life support as well. A careful look at the voting patterns in the 1994 election and at the radical changes that resulted thereof-changes in Congress, in America s political agenda, in Speaker Newt Gingrich s attractiveness to the media, suggests that the Democrats have lost their sense of purpose, their raison d etre and are summarily doomed. Democrats may continue to win elections for some time to come. But the party of FDR, Truman, JFK, and LBJ seem quite beyond any hope.

In 1994, Democrats did not just lose Congress for the first time in 40 years. They also lost 10 governorships and for the first time in nearly four decades, control fewer than half of the state legislatures. The Democratic Party was so undone in the last national election that they could not manage to defeat a single Republican incumbent candidate for governor, the House of Representatives, or the US Senate. Losses of that magnitude mean that they Republican Party will now play a dominant role in American Political life at all levels and cast an even darker shadow on Democratic fortunes in the future. The 1994 elections are evidence that the Democratic Party has lost the key constituency in American politics, the workers of the middle class. Edsall of the The Washington Post

wrote that while maintaining an alliance with Americans on the margin, the Democratic Party has alienated middle America, moving far from its New Deal roots as the ally of such groups as European immigrants, Catholics ethnics, and organized labor seeking entry into the social mainstream. Today, the party is increasingly seen by swing voters as seeking to redistribute income from workers to nonworkers ..[The] Democrats are losing credibility as a national party Based on data compiled by Mitovsky International and published after 1994 Elections in the New York Times, African-Americans, Jewish-Americans, and self described liberals are only members of the old Democratic coalition who remained steadfast. In the congressional voting, 88 percent of blacks , 78 percent of Jews, and 82

percent of liberals voted for Democratic candidates for the House of Representatives. Outside the dwindling lists of the registered faithful, not other broad national grouping-including organized labor approached that degree of solidarity with what was once America s majority party. Indeed, even gays, lesbians, and bisexuals fell away in 1994; Democratic House candidates, who received 77 percent of their votes in 1992 won only 60 percent in 1994. And the Solid South , which produced the only Democratic presidents since John F. Kennedy, seem to have abandoned the Democratic party forever. Only 45 percent of Southerners cast their ballots for democratic House candidates in 1994. Some blame President Clinton for this occurrence. But that is comparable to blaming Romulus Augustulus